Fourth Ward residents concerned with smell from wastewater treatment plant.

April 18, 2016

ludington wastewater treatment plantBy Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Cheri Rozell thought she would take advantage of the nice weather overnight and sleep with her house windows open. She said she woke up to a sulfur-like smell at her Second Street home in Ludington’s Fourth Ward.

Jennifer Pianto, who lives at the corner of Fifth Street and Sherman Street said the odor was even worse Saturday night in that area.

“I understand that we live close to some industrial businesses and some unpleasant smells are to be expected, but what has been happening lately is truly pretty disgusting,” Pianto said. “It tends to be overnight when it’s worst. We have had a lot of headaches and just want to make sure our kids are safe.”

The smell is coming from the city’s wastewater treatment facility located on Sixth Street east of Pere Marquette Township. City Manager John Shay said part of the reason for the odor is that the plant’s aeration system has reached the end of its life expectancy and the plant is having trouble providing enough air into the sewer lagoons to prevent the odors.

Shay said the issue has been going on over the last several months, as the aeration system continues to deteriorate.  The extent of the odor is also determined by the speed and direction of the wind, Shay said.

“The amount of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) waste coming from industrial users is higher than what the City’s WWTP can handle,” Shay said. “This system will be replaced as part of the significant upgrades to the WWTP that will take place in the next two to three years.  In the short term, we are working with the industrial users to reduce their BOD waste to the WWTP to a level that can be properly handled by the current aeration system.

“We are also determining if there are any short-term repairs that we can make to the aeration system without having to demolish these repairs when the WWTP is upgraded in the next two to three years.”

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